Young drivers

Title: The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill

Organisation: Department for Infrastructure (NI)
Date uploaded: 26th January 2016
Date published/launched: January 2016

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill completed its passage through the Assembly on 12 January 2016. The Bill includes provision for:
a new drink drive regime
a new Graduated Driver Licensing Scheme
a requirement for Quad users to wear helmets on public roads

The Bill will see tougher drink driving laws, tougher police powers for breath tests, night restrictions on young drivers carrying passengers and a mandatory minimum period for learning to drive before taking the test.

On drink driving, the Bill will provide for two new lower drink driving limits, the lowest of which will apply to novice and professional drivers. It also provides for a graduated penalty scheme where the penalty for an individual offence reflects the amount of alcohol involved. In addition, it gives the police powers to establish roadside checkpoints to provide for more routine breath checking.

With regard to GDL, the Bill provides for a mandatory six month minimum learning period for learner drivers and the introduction of a programme of training, to be evidenced by a logbook. It removes the current 45mph restriction for learner and restricted drivers.

This will enable lessons to be taken on motorways for the first time when accompanied by an approved driving instructor in a dual-controlled car. It also introduces a time-bound passenger restriction for new young drivers for the first six months after they pass their test. The restriction of being able to carry only one young passenger aged 14 to 20 will apply between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

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